I'm now getting Green Energy via Lichtblick

Since a few days I'm a happy customer of Lichtblick, the biggest electric utility (Stromanbieter) in Germany which provides 100% green energy (or Ökostrom as it's called in Germany).

Why?

I was getting tired of all those hypocrites and liars (a.k.a. politicians) who keep on talking about global warming and renewable energy, but fail to produce any real results since many, many years now.

So I decided to do my (small) part to help reduce CO2 emissions, the greenhouse effect, and global warming. After measuring the energy consumption of all my power-sucking devices and replacing or turning off some of them, and after replacing all lightbulbs with highly efficient energy saving lightbulbs, changing the electric utility was the next logical step.

First try (failed)

As probably almost everyone in Munich, I was a customer of the Stadtwerke München (SWM). According to the last electricity bill I got from them, their sources of energy are: 17% renewable energy, 83% fossil energy sources, 0% nuclear power. Well, at least they don't use nuclear power, that's a big plus IMO, but 83% polluting, fossil crap? Thanks, but no thanks.

So I opted to use their Ökostrom M-Natur tariff, which (they claim) provides 100% renewable energy. They use the so-called Aufpreismodell (sorry, German only), i.e. you pay a few cents extra per kWh, and this extra money is invested in renewable energy sources (mostly small hydropower plants around Munich).

As I found out a few hours later (d'oh!) this "Aufpreismodell" is not really ideal (you still pay a conventional electric utility instead of one with 100% renewable energy, for instance). In addition, I stubled over a petition for the city of Munich to stop investing in a new fossil fuel power plant (bituminous coal, to be more precise). Which I promptly signed (and which went to several local parties including the greens, the mayer of Munich, and others).
Now, this is what I call hypocritical behaviour — on the one side they claim/pretend to be environmentally friendly by promoting their "M-Natur" tariff, and at the same time they invest even more money in fossil fuels? WTF? Anyway, it seems the petition did have at least some impact, the aren't allowed to invest more money into that fossil fuel powerplant than they already did.

For me that was more than enough reason to immediately revoke my M-Natur tariff, and what's more, I switched to a completely different company now, Lichtblick (see also the respective Wikipedia page). I'm not willing to support such energy policies/politics with my money anymore.

Lichblick

Lichtblick is an Ökostromanbieter in Germany, supposedly the biggest one.
Their "energy mix" is 100% renewable energy (which is correct, unlike with SWM, as they do not own any additional fossil fuel plants). 76% of that is hydropower, FWIW.

Their prices may be a bit higher than those of conventional electric utilities, but not all that much; you might even pay less, depending on where you live and which tariff you have now. You can use their price calculator to find out.

Btw, some other good choices in Germany are Greenpeace energy, Elektrizitätswerke Schönau, and Naturstrom AG.

How the switch went

Easy. Grab the respective PDF, print it, fill in the required info, and send it to them. Alternatively, they also offer online registration. It'll take a few weeks until the switch is performed; they have to contact your current electric utility etc. In my case it took ca. 4 weeks.

There are no additional costs for switching. There is no "downtime" whatsoever (not even a few seconds), German law requires that you always reliably get your electricity 24/7 (and it indeed worked just fine for me).

So, that's that. From now on I'm happily using green energy all day (and night) long. I'm doing my part in Saving The Planet (tm) and I sleep a bit better at night...

P.S. No, I'm not getting paid by Lichtblick (or anybody else) to write this.

Comments

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Green Nuclear Power ;)

Hydropower - reminds me of the trick to save the energy from 24/7 running nuclear power plants which can't shut down: pumping water on a hill when few energy is used at night and electricity is therefore cheap to buy, then letting it down using turbines to generate electricity at daylight. I heared that they sell this as green energy :)

eco awareness

hi uwe,

good on you for creating some awareness amongst the tech crowd about environmental issues by writing about your personal switch to renewable energy.

now, did you know that about 14 power plants are needed to run the world's internet servers? also related: yahoo going carbon neutral: http://yodel.yahoo.com/2007/04/17/dont-even-leave-a-footprint/

towards green computing - meinhard of http://ecobytes.net/ (we are running debian of course, and thanks for the miro package) :)

Nuclear Power

What's wrong with nuclear power? It was my understanding that it is much cleaner than most other fuel-based sources.

Chernobyl

One word: Chernobyl.

Nuclear power plants must die. Now.

so you wouldn't endure a

so you wouldn't endure a little cancer to save Billions from global-warming-related disasters?

At the end of the day, I fear that Chernobyl will be a small blip compared to the destruction that fossil fuels will have caused.

hm

Well, we don't want either of them. We don't want fossil fuel / global warming disasters and we don't want nuclear power plant disasters, so the solution if blatantly obvious: we remove/replace both, in favor of less risky and less polluting solutions.

Hah! Do I get some kind of reward now? ;-)

Yes, but...

I've considered that, too. Until I saw their energy mix is largely water power, which is Green(tm) if you count air pollution, but not so much if you look at other factors as well.

Small spelling comment

fossil, not fossile

Fixed

Fixed, thanks!

Well, could be, but I guess

Well, could be, but I guess it's very hard to find comparable numbers wrt those additional factors of different companies. It's still a whole lot better than pure fossil fuel based companies, I imagine.

Do you have any information about whether some of the other companies (Naturstrom AG, Greenpeace energy, Elektrizitätswerke Schönau, maybe others I don't know about) are better options?